For a former lover
One month ago, you left. Your sweater—
burgundy cashmere—lies forgotten,
flung over my wingback chair, draped
casually like your arm on my shoulder,
releasing the smell of apples and pine cones
we gathered that week as we walked hand in hand,
silent against a sudden slap of early autumn.
Walking faster, then running, we knew
we edged closer to the inevitable
downhill turn of leaves, the branches bare,
mornings pale, streams lightly frozen. My
forehead throbbed. I always anticipate the best
and worst of things. In that chilly
moment I held you tighter, laughed,
unwilling to let my face show wrinkles
of regret. I think you meant for me to wear
your cardigan. Something to hang deep inside
my closet. I leave the door slightly ajar.
Jan Duncan-O’Neal is a retired librarian and storyteller living in Overland Park, Kansas. A Pushcart Nominee, she is also an editor for I-70 Review magazine. Her chapbook, Voices: Lost and Found was published in 2011 by The Lives You Touch Publications. Her work has appeared in such places as The Whirlybird Anthology of Kansas City Writers, Kansas City Voices, and Coal City Review.